Chargers linebacker Te'o 'frustrated and devastated' with 3rd foot injury in 13 months

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Buffalo Bills' Fred Jackson (22) rushes away from San Diego Chargers' Manti Te'o, left, for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)


SAN DIEGO — Chargers inside linebacker Manti Te'o says he's "frustrated and devastated" with a third foot injury in 13 months.

Te'o fractured his right foot Sunday in a 22-10 victory at Buffalo and is out indefinitely.

Te'o and the team are declining to reveal much information, but club spokesman Bill Johnston said Wednesday that it's a different injury than the one Te'o suffered in the first exhibition game of his rookie season in 2013. Te'o missed the first three games of 2013 with a foot injury and had surgery in the offseason.

He sprained his left foot during training camp.

Asked if it's a chronic problem, Te'o said: "I don't know, bro. I don't know."

Three days after the injury, Te'o said "we're not really sure yet" what specifically is wrong.

Te'o, who is tied for second on the team with 17 tackles, wasn't sure when or how he got hurt.

"Throughout the game you really don't know. The adrenaline is rushing and you're just going as hard as you can and after the game you feel all the nicks," he said.

Te'o said he had X-rays at the stadium, but they didn't reveal anything. "We thought it was OK," he said.

The former Notre Dame star doesn't know if he'll need surgery, but said he intends to be back this season.

"It's definitely frustrating for me," Te'o said. "I felt that I'm just getting started. I was starting to feel comfortable and starting to have a level of comfort there where I was able to go out there and make plays and be out there with the team.

"But when I heard the news it was definitely frustrating and devastating for me that I couldn't be out there with my guys."

Te'o said he's trying to keep it in perspective that other people elsewhere have more serious issues.

"I chose to stay positive and chose to know that in a few of weeks I'll be OK. In a few weeks I'll be running around with the fellas and running around with the bros and playing high-quality football," he said.

Coach Mike McCoy refused to be specific about Te'o's injury.

"He'll be back on the field when he's healthy. He's week-to-week right now. He was sore after the game and after running tests on Monday we diagnosed it the way it is," the coach said.

Asked if it's a stress fracture, McCoy said: "He'll be week-to-week. He has a foot injury. I'm not a doctor."

Did Te'o have surgery?

"He has a foot injury and he'll be out there when he's ready to go. Thank you," McCoy said.

Asked if Te'o has a chronic foot problem, McCoy replied: "You'd have to ask a professional about that. I don't have enough knowledge about the history of all those things and things like that."

Asked if a member of the Chargers' medical staff could provide information, the coach said: "You'll have to call somebody."

The Chargers don't let members of their medical staff speak with the media.

Te'o could be out for six to 10 weeks if he needs to have a screw inserted in his foot, said Dr. Mark Drakos, who specializes in foot and ankle disorders at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and played wide receiver at Harvard.

Drakos, who stressed that he has no direct knowledge of Te'o's injury, said players with high-arched foots are prone to having stress fractures, especially on the outside of the foot. In those injuries, players usually have a screw inserted.

"With some people it's bad luck," Drakos said. "It's a physical game and something can happen. The injuries I'm talking about often are non-contact, wear-and-tear. But if a 300-pound lineman steps on your foot, that's just bad luck."

Te'o has settled into life in the NFL after enduring the glare of publicity following the revelation he'd gotten fooled by a hoax involving a fake girlfriend while at Notre Dame.

He also had a poor showing in Notre Dame's BCS championship game loss to Alabama following the 2012 season.

The Chargers (2-1) host Jacksonville (0-3) on Sunday.


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